Improve Continuity of Care

According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center:

The risk of suicide attempts and death is highest within the first 30 days after a person is discharged from an emergency department (ED) or inpatient psychiatric unit, yet as many as 70 percent of suicide attempt patients of all ages never attend their first outpatient appointment. Therefore, access to clinical interventions and continuity of care after discharge is critical for preventing suicide.

While there are various evidence-based practices that can be implemented, these are only beginning to be recognized by these entities. And because “continuity” assumes someone on the other end, EDs and hospitals cannot achieve this without partnerships with community behavioral health and health providers, consumers, family members, and other community stakeholders.

Wisconsin’s initial efforts to work with EDs have offered promise. However, it is clear that there are many systemic hurdles to overcome. And, as the data suggests, this is also one of the most critical links in the chain or care that can be targeted for action.

(See Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy, Page 22)


Supporting Your Loved One Through a Suicidal Crisis A brochure created by the Prevent Suicide Chippewa Valley coalition about what to do and say when a loved one is discharged from the hospital (or not admitted) around a suicidal crisis. This brochure can be used as a template for other coalitions.

Continuity of Care for Suicide Prevention: The Role of Emergency Departments

Continuity of Care for Suicide Prevention and Research. (2011)

Wisconsin United for Mental Health, Information for Emergency Departments

Safety Planning: No-suicide contracts are not evidence based; safety planning is. Safety planning is a prioritized written list of coping strategies and sources of support to be used by patients who have been deemed to be at high risk for suicide. Various resources can be found at this site.